Asher’s Bakery is a Christian-owned establishment in Northern Ireland, UK. In 2014, Gareth Lee, a gay rights activist, ordered a cake from the bakery with the slogan “Support Gay Marriage.” The bakery declined the order. Mr. Lee immediately sued the bakery claiming discrimination against him based on his sexual orientation and political beliefs.
For the last four years, the case has made its way through the British courts system. Twice, lower courts ruled in favor of the gay activist, and ordered Asher’s Bakery to bake the cake.
Twice, the bakers appealed, arguing that they were not discriminating against anyone, that they would never bake a cake which violated their religious beliefs for anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or political belief.
Today, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom ruled unanimously in favor of the bakers, noting that no one can be forced to express political opinions that they do not wish to express.
While this ruling is a victory for liberty and freedom of religion, it serves as a a particularly ugly omen for Christian business owners. You see, while Christians and conservatives have become accustomed to well-organized and executed legal assaults brought by radical gay activists, the scariest element of this case is that of the funding behind Gareth Lee’s lawsuit.
While the owners of Asher’s Bakery was forced to pay £ 200,000 in legal fees over the past four years, Mr. Lee had his legal fees completely covered by the British Taxpayer. Throughout the entire suit, Mr. Lee’s case was funded by the Equality Commission of Northern Ireland, a publicly operated organization. Therefore, in this case, the government itself was paying for an assault on the basic right of Freedom of Conscience.